Familiar with the world of technology, Entity Group, who provide information management solutions around the UK, Europe, Middle East and South Africa were fully aware they wanted the company to adopt a cloud based email infrastructure.
IBM Lotus Notes had been their chosen email and calendaring system for the past 15 years. “Our on premise servers meant that IT within the company was manageable whilst all our staff were based in the same location,” says Martin Paice, Entity Group’s IT Manager, “if we had an IT problem there was always someone around to help fix it, but as more and more consultants began to work off site, resources to solve the issues were no longer instantly available.” Lotus Notes remote access and new user configurations were proving challenging.
It was clear as the company grew, the technology being used needed to grow with them and changes to their current IT infrastructure were required.
- Implement a low hardware infrastructure solution off-site
- Provide better web and mobile email access
- Reduce manual labour and administration costs for new user set-ups on the network, email and remote mail
- Improve document collaboration and avoid multiple copies of the same documents
Being an IT company Entity Group were not new to the offerings of Office 365. As a Microsoft Partner, they used a whole suite of Microsoft products and they wanted to maintain that level of integration - therefore Microsoft Office 365 was high on its priority list of choices.
Other options were investigated but were either harder to “integrate” into their current infrastructure or did not resolve their low hardware infrastructure requirements.
Polymorph had maintained a good relationship with Entity Group after a pre-existing contract providing their Lotus Notes licenses. This led to Entity Group approaching Polymorph to help evaluate their business requirements.
Polymorph offered a two day discovery workshop. The first workshop was about what Microsoft Office 365 can offer to the business. It was this workshop that confirmed Entity Group’s choice for moving to Office 365.
The second workshop was more technical, exploring how to move to Office 365, what Office 365 can and cannot do and how it would integrate into their environment. This helped to identify any potential issues that could be experienced during deployment. “To have a deeper understanding of what would be required from a technical level this workshop was really useful for me,” said Martin.
The user migration was a staged approach and did not come without a number of hurdles. License, bandwidth and user configuration issues caused unexpected delays and increased the timescale of the project. Entity Group were particularly impressed with Polymorph’s problem solving during migration as many users had been setup with different configurations. “It was a challenge,” says Martin. “Polymorph’s technical consultants dealt extremely well resolving unexpected problems.”
“We have not just moved to a new email application, we have moved to a whole new suite of applications. We know Office 365 can do much more, we just haven’t unlocked all of the features yet” – Martin Paice, IT Manager.
Martin explains the benefits Microsoft Office 365 has brought to Entity Group:
- With Office 365 our objective to achieve a low hardware infrastructure solution has been extremely successful and significantly cost-effective
- Office 365 is seen as more of a hub which we did not expect
- The ease of a single user set-up in one place has vastly reduced time and administration costs; it’s a ‘one-stop-shop’
- How Office 365 and Outlook has integrated into our business and our applications is beyond what we imagined
- Document collaboration is excellent. The ability to setup, share and update documents live at same time has alleviated multiple edited copies of the same document all over the network
- Switching users from Skype to Lync Online has required a little more getting used to. Lync provides improved instant messaging, auditability and video conferencing facilities
Yammer, the social component of Office 365, is yet to be explored and is another target for Entity Group to implement. Preparing document consolidation for single point of access using SharePoint Online is also being investigated and explored.
Confident with their expertise, Entity Group are keen to work with Polymorph again for help and advice on subsequent SharePoint projects.
Entity is a UK and Middle Eastern based information management solutions specialist, providing data management for clients in the UK, Europe, Middle East and Africa.